General Synod 2024 Brief Summary

General Synod 2024 ended Thursday at 4:30 pm.

Moderator Alan Broyles introduced his Synod Emphasis for the year, “To the ends of the Earth together, Acts 1:8.” Agency Directors held a banner on stage to show the denomination working together.

The Special Committee to Study Church Officers and Secret Societies was discussed. The report showed a summary of findings from other denominations as well on Freemasons along with Bible proofs and Westminster Confession references. A motion was passed at this point, “That the Officers or Officer nominees who are members of a secret society be encouraged to consult with their session on the questions every believer must ask before they join a secret society.”

Following that motion, another one was passed stating, “That the 220th General Synod explicitly and forthrightly declare that Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity.”

The Special Committee to Study the Work of the Office of Deacon report was discussed.

The summary of the report says, Those whom Christ is calling to exercise spiritually-centered authority, He sets apart by gifts including an ability to teach (Ephesians 4:11; James 3:11). In order that those officers might focus on the ministry of the Word and prayer, Christ calls others to serve as deacons and care for the physically-oriented needs of the Chruch (Acts 6:3-4; 1Timothy 3:8-13).

The scope of the office of deacon is to undertake those tasks entrusted to them by the Session in order to facilitate the Session’s attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:2). Such tasks may include, but are not limited to, caring for physical needs through the collection and distribution of goods/resources and administrative duties (Deuteronomy 16:10-15; Psalm 68:18-19).

The authority of deacons is the authority of Christ Himself, delegated to them through the giving of spiritual gifts from Christ and the laying on of hands (Acts6:6). Just as Christ the King came to serve rather than to be served (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), so His lowly service is to be an exemplar not only to all Christians (Philippians 2:3-11), but especially to those who exercise authority while serving in His Name (John 13:14-17).

There was a motion to adopt this as an official position paper for the denomination. The discussion continued after dinner that if it was adopted, it would make it an authoritative position which women can not hold. The report was not made an official paper.

The Special Committee to Investigate Second Presbytery’s Handling of Allegations Against Chuck Wilson was next on the agenda.

The committee’s report expressed multiple challenges including the massiveness of the case and the difficulties in dealing with members and officers of Second Presbytery. The committee completed their investigation and presented 20 events that happened. Two of those were deviations from our Book of Discipline. Others were lack of records after requested and how things were handled. The recommendations from the committee were as follows

  1. That Second Presbytery be dissolved as of September 1, 2024.
  2. That the bounds of Catawba Presbytery be changed to include the entire state of South Carolina.
  3. That the bounds of Tennessee-Alabama Presbytery be moved to include the entire state of Georgia.
  4. That the General Synod encourage members of Second Presbytery to transfer their credentials to Catawba or Tennessee-Alabama presbyteries (depending on their geographical location).
  5. That the Moderator appoint a commission in order to oversee the transfer of assest and dissolution of Second Presbytery.
  6. That the General Synod encourage Catawba and Tennesee-Alabama presbyteries to use assets received the for purpose of church strengthening, already existing church plants, and new church planting, giving special consideration to the geographical areas of the former Second Presbytery.
  7. That the General Synod review Catawba and Tennessee-Alabama presbytery boundaries after a period of three years.
  8. That the Moderator appoint a committee to review and revise The Standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church with special emphasis on the church discipline process in the Book of Discipline and special emphasis on the Form of Government, as it relates to judicial commissions.

Due to the weight of this issue, James Almond offered prayer. There was heavy discussion as delegates worked through the understanding of this report. The question was called and the vote for Recommendation #1 to dissolve Second Presbytery passed 254 yes to 43 no. Second Presbytery will be dissolved.

Delegates heard from both Catawba and Tennesee-Alabama Presbytery clerks that their presbyteries are willing to accept men as long as their views have not changed. These Presbyteries cannot decline a church.

The following two motions were made to clarify the original recommendations from the committee’s report:

  • That the moderator establish a commission to oversee and distribute funds to fulfill and continue the existing financial obligations of Second Presbytery and that the same commission study the best use of the remaining funds for the furtherance of the gospel in our denomination. ­
  • That the moderator direct the commission to deal with funds of Second Presbytery and be allowed to deal with the dissolution of Second Presbytery and to handle any requests for churches in Second Presbytery to change from their new presbytery.

A report was heard from Iglesia Presbiteriana Asociada Reformada de Mexico and it was approved to move to Fraternal Fellowship. Scott Moore translated as three representatives addressed Synod. “Missionaries were first sent to Mexico in December 1879. It is our desire and prayer that fellowship can increase and be strengthened,” the IPAR delegate said.

Reverend David Walkup, pastor of Chapel by the Sea in Florida was elected Moderator Elect and Frank Hunt, III was elected Vice-Moderator Elect.

The Memorials Report was next with the reading of the Canadian Presbytery Memorial.

Therefore, The Canadian Presbytery of the ARP Church, humbly petitions the 220th General Synod the ARP to release our presbytery for the formation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Canada beginning with our Fall Presbytery meeting, September 2025.

This Memorial brought a lot of discussion. “We share the expression of affection. This has been a wonderful home for over 30 years. The only agenda we have is to be faithful to the Word of God. We pray to continue to have cooperative relations,” Jeff Kingswood said.

“I am thankful for the wisdom of these men. My heart doesn’t want to let them go,” Rick Anderson said.

The Memorial passed.

 

(On a personal note, Synod is one of the best weeks of the year, yet the toughest. Taking notes and pictures, posting on Social Media and checking my resource tables make things nonstop for the entire week. Due to the timing of my deadline for The ARP Magazine, I am only able to touch on highlights from the meeting. For a full report, subscribe to The ARP Magazine. I am thankful for all the delegates and for their faithful service to our denomination. It is a blessing to be a part of the ARP Church and denomination.)

1 thought on “General Synod 2024 Brief Summary”

  1. Thank you for doing a wonderful job of reporting in summary the actions of Synod. Keep up the great work!

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